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‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is an expertly crafted kids film any audience can enjoy

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is an expertly crafted kids film any audience can enjoy

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is an expertly crafted kids film any audience can enjoy
April 13
14:00 2023

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is the ultimate ode to what a family movie should be, and it shows — the new animated movie has already broken several records in its opening weekend, including biggest debut for an animated film.

Adult fans who were expecting a plot that engages with audiences in a more nuanced way should adjust their expectations, as neither the tone nor runtime of the film allow more mature themes to develop. This is more than appropriate and serves the film well. The movie spends time delivering on punchlines and moving the story along without overly explaining any one element.

The “Super Mario” series is one accustomed to variation, but not necessarily changes in its story. Whether it’s Princess Peach being whisked away to Bowser’s Castle, Bowser imprisoning Peach in her own castle or absconding with the princess to a castle on the other side of the galaxy, the general beats of every Mario tale can be seen from a mile away. 

While the movie doesn’t take exaggerative leaps out of the franchise’s comfort zone, it does make one key change: rather than have the princess be kidnapped, it is Mario’s younger brother, Luigi, that is held captive. Simply switching out Peach for Luigi provides a necessary breath of fresh air to engage audiences and provide something new to characters that are over 40 years old.

Coming in at just over 90 minutes, the film speed runs along to get from one scene to the next, occasionally in a way that feels clunky. The plot points are fast-paced and the exposition is blunt, in an almost uncomfortable way. However, the overall film does not suffer because of it.

Although initially met with a lot of backlash, the decision to cast Chris Pratt as Mario pays off, as he and every other voice actor in the film provide a more than satisfactory performance. Jack Black’s portrayal of Bowser as a moody heartthrob is downright sidesplitting, and plays into its own silliness throughout.

Illumination Entertainment’s charge of “Super Mario” is arguably the greatest success for the movie. Films based on video games are notorious for the controversy surrounding the way they choose to portray characters. However, the film’s animation absolutely pushes every moment to the next level.

Illumination also steps away from its more crude humor — the influences of the studio’s more notable releases, such as “Despicable Me,” are nowhere to be found in the Mario movie.

The musical direction of the movie is a key part of its enjoyability. The licensed music does leave much to be desired in its implementation, but the orchestral score is the perfect whimsical pairing to the rest of the film. Those who have played the games before will immediately recognize motifs throughout, satisfying fans of original and recent installments alike.

The film’s humor is arguably its strongest part. It’s surprisingly robust and never settles on one kind of punchline. There are jokes that build and others that come unexpectedly. Some are geared toward children, while others are aimed at adults.

If you’re an austere film critic deciding to watch “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” while it is in theaters, be wary. You may find your moviegoing experience undercut with constant laughter or audible excitement from those eager to see their favorite video game characters on screen.

Comparing “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” to any other film defeats the purpose of what it sets out to do. There are no intricate themes and the film is much shorter than other box office hits like it. Rather than diminish the final product, these elements actually enrich the film as a whole.

With a richly orchestrated score, an easily relatable emotional core and incredibly funny jokes throughout, the film’s pieces culminate into an incredibly enjoyable experience.

Ayden’s rating: 4.5/5

Featured Illustration by Jazmine Garcia

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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